Berkeley Lab

BELLA Reaches 4.2 GeV, A Record Energy for Laser-Plasma Accelerators


Nine-cm-long capillary discharge waveguide used to generate multi-GeV electron beams. Plasma plume made more prominent with HDR photography. (LBNL photo by Roy Kaltschmidt.)

BELLA has set a new energy record for these compact accelerators by reaching 4.2 giga-electron-volts.

Some resources for learning more…

  • LBNL news release
  • “Power to the Electrons,”, a Viewpoint article by Georg Korn of Europe’s Extreme Light Infrastructure project, puts the achievement in context. It appears in Physics, an American Physical Society publication that spotlights exceptional research from APS journals.
  • This article by Matteo Rini, Deputy Editor of Physics, looks at the x-ray free-electron lasers of today and tomorrow, and where laser plasma accelerators and a next generation of our facility, “k-BELLA,” might fit in.
  • The technical paper announcing this result: Leemans et al., “Multi-GeV Electron Beams from Capillary-Discharge-Guided Subpetawatt Laser Pulses in the Self-Trapping Regime,” Physical Review Letters 113, 245002 (8 December 2014).

Media Attention Accelerating: The news of this latest BELLA achievement has garnered widespread coverage, including a story provided to newspapers by the wire service UPI, and articles in trade-news and popular websites such as,,,,,, and (The picture of the accelerating channel in operation, by Roy Kaltschmidt of LBNL’s Public Affairs Creative Services Office, accompanies almost all the stories.)